I’ve never kept from her the relationship I had with her dad.
When she asks me questions, I’ve always answered her as honestly as I could and I’ve never told her I didn’t want to talk about it.
Mike came into our lives when she was two. She’s always known he wasn’t her real dad.
She was so jealous of Smart and would ask Mike if she could call him dad too. We always told her no.
That is until we got married. She was five then.
Oh, she was so stinkin’ excited to celebrate that first Father’s Day with him!
I was surprised how much it meant to her.
Years ago, my mom had made me a scrapbook of the kids. Oh my gosh, they were so little.
But imagine my surprise when I flipped a page to see a picture of me and Butterfly’s dad, together.
Then imagine what it was like to have my daughter sitting next to me, asking who he was.
She’s asked to see that scrapbook several times over the years. I know why she wants to look at it. Sometimes I get it down for her. Sometimes I don’t.
Today was one of those days. It was funny, she ran into my closet and pulled it from my top shelf before I could even get in there.
I didn’t realized she had become tall enough to grab it without a chair, and because she knew exactly where it was, and I didn’t, made me think she’s gotten it down herself before.
She entertained me by starting at the beginning and pointing out each of her brother’s as she turned the page.
She finally turned to the page that held the only picture I have of him.
I don’t even remember the questions she asked, but suddenly I found myself telling her he’s in prison.
She was shocked to have learned I had googled him.
“You can do that?”
Yes, you can, and I found him.
Even after all these years, I still fear him showing up in our lives.
He was a master manipulator, and at one time in my life had taken everything I had.
I wanted to know where he’s at.
My fear was he would take her one day too. Not necessarily, physically, but definitely emotionally. My fear is one day, when she’s 25 he will walk into her life and take her for everything she has, with guilt and shame to the point where she feels trapped, just like I did.
Immediately she had wanted to know what he had done, was he in Arizona, and finally…
Can she see him?
Hadn’t quite planned on that.
My daughter asked me if I thought it was weird that she wanted to know about her dad.
I told her I didn’t.
But I didn’t understand why she wanted to see him.
“Honey, you have tons of people who love you. People, who never would have been in our lives if we hadn’t gotten away from him. Our lives would be so different. Why would you want to see him?”
Tears welled up in her eyes, as she told me with a seriousness I was not accustomed to hearing from my ten year old,
“I know I have lots of people who love me. But I NEED this one to love me. He doesn’t even know me.”
Well there it was.
A need I can’t fill. A need he won’t be able to fill.
That desire for something more.
We all have it. It looks different with everyone. But we all carry that hole in our hearts that can only be filled by God. And yet, like everyone else, thinks it can be filled by something else.
In her case, it’s knowing her dad. If it wasn’t that, it might be if she was only thinner, or more outgoing, or if she had a boyfriend, or if she was married, or if she had children, or if she just had…
…then she’d be happy.
And so her journey is about to start.
I told her I didn’t know which prison he’s in. If he’s even in Arizona. I did tell her if something revealed itself, and that information became available, then I would take her to meet him.
But in order for that to happen, she needs to start learning about Boundaries, and what and who she is responsible for, and what she’s not.
If this is going to happen, I want her to be protected, and prepared. But honestly by showing her now; by teaching her about how God made her and what is hers and what is not, is the best defense I could give her not on only against her dad, but also against anyone else who tries to fill that hole for her.
So, I will choose not to pass my fear unto her, but will empower her by sharing my faith in the only one who can fill her soul.
Lord, I lift my daughter up to you. I understand that hole my daughter is feeling. I understand that feeling of something missing from her life. We are all born with that deep desire for more. Lord, I pray she searchers you more. I pray she studies how you’ve designed her and realizes how much love and value you’ve put into her and she is worth being protected. She is worth fighting for. So much so, that when other people or things try to fill that hole, she immediately recognizes they are not making her hole smaller, but actually making it bigger. Lord, you are the only thing that can satisfy our deepest desires and fill our holey heart. Equip me to help her know that too.
In your Son’s holy name, please protect us, AMEN.